AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Social Network
Director: David Fincher (Dir)
Release Date:   1 Oct 2010
Duration (in mins):  120
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Cast: Jesse Eisenberg  (Mark Zuckerberg)
  Rooney Mara  (Erica Albright)
  Bryan Barter  (Billy Olson)
 

Summary:        In order to get back at his former girl friend, Boston University co-ed Erica Albright, Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg uses his computer blog to denigrate Erica on the Internet. Not content with this, he also creates a program he calls Facemash, with some input from his friend Eduardo Saverin, that will allow Harvard students to compare posted photos of female students and rate how “hot” they are compared to others at the school. The site is immediately popular and in the course of only a few hours receives twenty-two thousand hits and shuts down Harvard’s computer system. Fellow Harvard students, the twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss and their associate, Divya Narendra, learn about Zuckerberg’s exploit, and approach him to be their programmer for a social media website they envision called The Harvard Connection. But Zuckerberg is also obsessed with getting into a Harvard Final Club and is convinced that such membership would be the key to his future social and business success. However, because he is Jewish and does not come from “old money,” he sees it as unlikely that he will gain membership in one of these prestigious societies. When the Winklevoss twins take him to the Phoenix Club, in which they are members, but do not allow him to go past the lobby because he is not a member, Zuckerberg at first agrees to work with them, but instead spends his time developing his own social networking site he calls The Facebook. As The Facebook takes shape, Zuckerberg again turns to his friend Eduardo to put up the money they will need to get the web site up and running and offering him thirty percent of the new company in return for his financial investment. The partnership results in the formation of a corporation. The new social networking website succeeds in attracting ever more student participants, and begins to expand to other schools across the country. Narendra and the Winklevoss twins are outraged, believing Zuckerberg has stolen their idea, and though reluctant at first, they eventually decide to sue him. The Facebook attracts the attention of Sean Parker, founder of the music-sharing website, Napster, who beguiles Zuckerberg with the idea that he will gain respect for having created something cool, but that he also needs to hold on to his creation and not be forced out before he can convert the idea into big money. Parker also suggests they drop the “The” and simply call the site Facebook. Eduardo opposes Parker’s involvement, and remains in the east trying to raise money through potential advertisers, while Zuckerberg moves Facebook’s operation to California. Without Eduardo’s knowledge, Parker arranges for venture capitalists to invest in Facebook. At first elated at the company’s good fortune, Eduardo signs new incorporation papers that seemingly offer an enhanced interest in the company; however, he later finds out the papers he signed allow for his share to be diluted as new shares are offered to the public. Eduardo also brings suit against Zuckerberg. The dirty business machinations and sometimes distasteful personal lives of the parties involved in the various law suits are revealed in pre-trial depositions. Ultimately, Zuckerberg is persuaded to settle the lawsuits in order to obtain non-disclosure agreements that will keep Facebook’s dirty linen out of the public arena. Sitting alone in his lawyer’s conference room, Zuckerberg pulls up Erica Albright’s Facebook page and sends her a “friend request.” As Zuckerberg impatiently and repeatedly hits the refresh button to see if she has responded, it is revealed that ultimately the Winklevoss twins settled for $65 million and signed non-disclosure agreements; that Eduardo Saverin received an undisclosed settlement and had his name restored to the Facebook masthead as co-founder of the company; and that, even after all of this, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in the world. 

Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures
Production Company: Columbia Pictures
Michael De Luca Productions
Director: David Fincher (Dir)
  JoAnn Perritano (Unit Prod Mgr)
  Bob Wagner (1st asst dir)
  Allen Kupetsky (2d asst dir)
  Maileen Williams (2nd second asst dir)
  Noble Jones (2d unit dir, Boston unit)
Producer: Kevin Spacey (Exec prod)
  Scott Rudin (Prod)
  Dana Brunetti (Prod)
  Michael De Luca (Prod)
  Ceán Chaffin (Prod)
  Jim Davidson (Assoc prod)
  Rupert Smythe (Line prod, UK/Henley unit)
  Matthew Carver (2d asst dir, UK/Henley unit)
  John Foster (1st Asst cam, UK/Henley unit)
  Gavin MacArthur (2d asst cam, UK/Henley unit)
Writer: Aaron Sorkin (Scr)

Subject Major: Computers
  social networking
  Lawyers
  Women lawyers
  Lawsuits
  Inventors
  Friendship
  Business ethics
  Partnership
 
Subject Minor: Envy
  Jealousy
  Cocaine
  Stocks

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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